Wayne Rooney: Some ex-players bitter about England’s success

The former Manchester United forward insists he’s optimistic about England’s future after bringing his international career to a close.

Wayne Rooney says some ex-England internationals are struggling to embrace the current side’s success under Gareth Southgate.

Rooney’s record-breaking international career finally came to an end on Thursday with his 120th cap against the U.S. national team at Wembley.

The DC United striker was a member of England’s much-vaunted ‘golden generation’, who were often criticised for failing to live up to their reputation at major tournaments.

Rooney insists he has no bitterness about how his international career panned out, but says it’s a different situation for some of his international teammates.

“I know there are some ex-players who I’ve spoken to who can’t come to terms with England doing well,” he said.

“That is wrong. I’m not like that. I’m a fan now. I want England to do well. I am proud to have played for England so many times and I always have been.

“I’ve had my time. I am happy with what I’ve contributed to the national team and I look forward now to the next few years and watching this team progress.”

England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals last summer helped reengage the public with the national team, many of whom had fallen out of love with the national team after repeated failures.

When asked to compare his England side with the current generation, Rooney added: “The team I played in had superstars, but this team has also got superstars.

“Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, John Stones – one of the best centre-backs in world football. England have got great players and they’ve also got young players.

“I think this is a great squad, with other players who can come in if there are injuries. I have also seen first-hand that they are getting coached right, with good ideas, and the players are responding well to that. Hopefully this team can be the one to bring a trophy home.

“Everyone can see the potential in the team is huge. They have come off the back of a hugely successful World Cup, but in a strange way I think the game against Spain will give them even more confidence than what they did in the summer. That was a massive result, to win away in Spain. To be around the squad, to see how Gareth is coaching, was great.”Sancho USA England

While Rooney’s international career was coming to a close on Thursday, Jadon Sancho’s was just beginning.

The 18-year-old Dortmund stood out on his first Three Lions start against the USA and Rooney was impressed with what he saw at first hand.

“I’m not surprised by him. He is a fantastic talent,” Rooney said. “I spoke to him before the game and he said he was nervous, which is normal, but the important thing for me was that he showed he isn’t afraid to make mistakes.

“He’s only 18. It happens. Of course you’re going to make mistakes. I told him to have an impact and a few moments that people will remember – and he certainly did that.”

Rooney also laughed off suggestions he was envious of Sancho, saying he is looking forward to watching the Dortmund youngster spearhead a glorious era for the Three Lions.

“I’m not jealous,” he said. “I’m a fan now. I’ve had my time. Are you jealous of me because I’m younger than you? Of course I’m excited for him. I’m excited for all of them, I’m excited for England. This is a great opportunity for this group of players to make that next step.

“They’ve already got to a World Cup semi-final, but they can’t sit back and be happy about doing what the 1990 team did. They have got the potential to go further. This is a young group of players, but I can see the mentality is right and they’ll be pushing for more.”

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